Church leaders in Ireland and Great Britain were invited by the new President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, to a Garden Party on Monday July 9th at the official President's residence, Árus an Uachtaráin .
On 11 November 2011, Michael D. Higgins was inaugurated as the ninth President of Ireland. In his Inaugural address he stated, “I will champion creative communities who are bringing about positive change at local level by giving recognition to their achievements on the national stage. I believe that when we encourage the seedbed of creativity in our communities and ensure that each child and adult has the opportunity for creative expression, we also lay the groundwork for sustainable employment in creative industries and enrich our social, cultural and economic development.”
The Garden Party was attended by several community groups from around Ireland. The Church was represented by Elder Clifford T Herbertson, Area Authority and his wife, Julie, the Dublin Stake President Bernard O'Farrell with Sister Mary O'Farrell, The Limerick District President, Tom and Sister Satu Murphy and Eamonn Sheridan, National Director of Public Affairs for Ireland with his wife, Linda. A wonderful afternoon followed with food and great entertainment, which included a tour of the residence, which was formerley the Viceregal Lodge during the British Occupation, now known as Árus an Uachtaráin (Presidents Residence).
The Office of President of Ireland was established by The Constitution (Bunreacht na h Éireann) with The President being elected directly by the people. The term of office is 7 years and a President may not serve more than 2 terms. The President represents all the people when undertaking official engagements at home and abroad and is also Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces.
"President Higgins is a unique highly intelligent individual. It was an honour to shake his hand. Doubly so as he is Commander in Chief of the armed forces where I served as an officer for over thirty years."
Eamonn Sheridan, National Director of Public Affairs for Ireland
President Higgins is stated as having a passionate political voice, is a poet and writer, an academic and statesman, a human rights advocate, a promoter of inclusive citizenship and champion of creativity within Irish society. Michael D. Higgins has previously served at almost every level of public life in Ireland, including as Ireland’s first Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht.
Former presidents include Mary McAleese who was inaugurated on 11 Nov 1997 and re-elected on lst October 2004 for a second term as the Eighth president. On 3 December, 1990, Mary Robinson was inaugurated as the seventh President of Ireland. She resigned from the office of President on 12 September, 1997, to take up appointment as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Elder Herbertson sent a framed copy of 'The Family Proclamation' and some copies of 'For the Strength of Youth' pamphlet in response to the interest and emphasis President Higgins has made on families and young people. The gifts were recognised and appreciated by a letter from the President.